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Jury Studies Photo Of Blood Vial Panel In Simpson Civil Case Also Asks For Magnifying Glass

Thu., Jan. 30, 1997, midnight

Jurors in the O.J. Simpson civil trial deliberated for six hours Wednesday, asking for a magnifying glass and a photo of a blood vial to help them as they review the case.

The requests may signal that the jurors are focusing on the hotly contested blood evidence. The defense contends that former Los Angeles Police Detective Philip Vannatter opened a vial of Simpson’s blood and daubed it on key pieces of evidence as part of a frame-up. The plaintiffs argue that no one ever unsealed the vacuum-packed vial except to test Simpson’s blood in the LAPD crime lab.

The vial that contained Simpson’s blood is not in evidence. Neither is a photo of it. Although defense lawyers showed a snapshot of Simpson’s vial to jurors during the trial - and pointed out blood caked on the outside of the cap - they did not move it into evidence, so jurors cannot look at it during deliberations.

Instead, Superior Court Judge Hiroshi Fujisaki told the jurors they can study a clean, unused vial that is stashed inside their deliberation room along with hundreds of other exhibits.

Fujisaki did give the jurors the magnifying glass they requested.

During the trial, one witness used a magnifying glass to point out faint stains inside Simpson’s Bronco in several photographs. Those stains proved, he said, that blood was not planted in the Bronco to frame Simpson. The defense has produced its own photo, taken at the same time, showing no blood in the Bronco.

A magnifying glass also figured heavily in testimony about the 31 photos showing Simpson wearing Bruno Magli shoes. The plaintiffs’ expert photo analyst, Gerald Richards, used one to point out features on the negatives and contact sheets that he said proved the photos were genuine. The defense claims all 31 are forgeries.


 

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